On the Scene
Dolores Huerta encouraged the Chicago crowd to get involved in politics from the ground up. 0

Dolores Huerta and the energy in the room

October 19th, 2017

Women’s events in Chicago feel a lot more energized these days.

Maybe it’s due to the Trump Effect, which led to a massive women’s march in Chicago earlier this year, or women are feeling a common bond to fight the Harvey Weinsteins of the world.

On Thursday, though, the unifying spirit came from the stage at the Hyatt Regency where Dolores Huerta and Alicia Garza headlined the Chicago Foundation for Women fundraiser.

Huerta is long-time advocate for farm workers and marginalized communities, and Garza is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter. The two national activists took part in a Q&A with Chicago political activist Rebecca Sive. For women in the crowd, their thoughts were inspirational and empowering.

“When people’s rights are threatened, we must go after the people what are threatening those rights,” said Huerta. The crowd cheered.

“Knowing the world we want is actually possible. But we have to get activated to get there,” said Garza. Yes, sister!

The Chicago Foundation for Women is a nonprofit that advocates for women’s health, economic equality and freedom from violence. They’re all issues making headlines–from birth control to safety in the office or walking down the street.

They aren’t political issues, as speakers at the luncheon pointed out. They’re women’s issues.

To make that point clear, K. Sujata, the left-leaning organization’s president and CEO, gave a hat-tip to Republican Governor Bruce Rauner for signing HB40 into law. That’s the bill that ensures abortions remain legal in Illinois.

Rauner’s wife, children’s advocate Diana Rauner, was among the high-profile attendees at Wednesday’s luncheon at the Hyatt Regency.

The event even included a rallying cry led by Huerta: “Who’s got the power?” she called out. “We’ve got the power!” shouted the crowd.

Like I said, it was energized.

The event raised close to $1.2 million.

Some notable attendees spotted in the crowd gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss; lieutenant governor candidate Juliana Stratton; Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer; businesswoman and political activist Christie Hefner; Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority CEO Lori Healey; PNC Bank of Illinois President Scott Swanson; Growthplay co-founder and Managing Director Amy Dordek Dolinsky; long-time GOP fundraiser Lori Montana; Women’s Business Development Center CEO Emilia DiMenco; Personal PAC CEO Terry Cosgrove; Alford Group Executive Vice President Sharon Tiknis; arts patron Helen Melchior; and Jo Moore, a nonprofit leader and major donor to the event.

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